About the National Archives

Remarks at the Memorandum of Understanding Signing for the 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence 

Two hundred and forty-five years ago today, delegates to the Continental Congress put their lives on the line and signed the official, record copy of the Declaration of Independence. It was a bold move, announcing a radical political experiment in self-government based on a set of ideals. Today that iconic document is on permanent display in the National Archives Rotunda.

The National Archives’ programs marking the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding will celebrate the diversity of the American people and the constancy of the political creed that unites them. What joins Americans to one another is their adherence to the ideals that inspired the birth of our country—freedom, equality, self-determination—as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Our programs will seek to engage all people of all ages from across the 50 states and U.S. Territories, with stories that reflect the diverse origins of the American people, and will offer opportunities to connect with stories of the American Revolution and the founding principles upon which our country was established. The history of the United States has been a journey toward “a more perfect Union.” Our programming will pay tribute to the generations of American citizens who have, through their activism, pushed the nation closer to living out its professed ideals. Within that historical context, the National Archives will invite Americans to consider the obligations and opportunities of citizenship in a representative form of government.

Finally, as guardian of the nation’s original, signed, record copy of the Declaration of Independence, the National Archives will invite the public to connect with the Declaration by coming to see the original, displayed alongside the U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights. In addition to disseminating information about the Declaration’s meaning and impact on the world, the National Archives will also highlight the document’s physical history that led to its current condition and the latest scientific research undertaken by National Archives conservators and scientists to ensure the physical preservation of this precious parchment for generations to come.

As Archivist of the United States and as an American citizen, I am looking forward to celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. And I am especially honored to be here today to sign this Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in support of the 250th anniversary of the United States of America.